The 10 Best Kitchen Knives
10. Farberware Non-Stick
9. Victorinox Forschner
8. Kyocera Revolution
7. Forged Premio
6. Mercer Culinary Genesis
5. Calphalon Classic
4. Chicago Cutlery Fusion
3. Vremi Colorful
2. Wusthof Classic 7-piece
1. Cuisinart 15-Piece
Over The Edge: On Knives And Peanut Butter
There's something unwieldy about trying to capture and spread peanut butter with a sharp knife. It doesn't quite cut it, metaphorically speaking.
I often use a paring knife to cut small slices of apple for myself before applying some peanut butter to them and eating them. It's a nice, healthy snack, but it's far easier to use a dedicated butter knife for the peanut butter than to try to use the paring knife.
What it comes down to is this: that the shape and sharpness of your knife will change its purpose. Try to cut bread with a chef's knife if you don't believe me. Then cut it with a bread knife. See the difference?
While the chef's knife can easily crack through the crust of a good loaf of bread, it's gummy interior sticks to the blade and is pushed down onto the cutting board, resulting in crushed, sad-looking slices.
The serrations on a bread knife, and its scallops if it's a good one, will grip the bread's gooey center at the knife's edge, and release that same doughy center at the sides of the blade, allowing for a nice clean cut.
Not only is having the right knife for the job essential, it is equally important that your knives are extremely sharp. Many people are scared of razor-sharp kitchen knives, but experienced chef's know that nothing is more dangerous than a dull knife. With a dull knife, the user tends to push with more pressure, often resulting in slips and serious cuts. Sharper knives mean less pressure and better control.
Can You Have Too Many Knives?
Picking the perfect knife set isn't the kind of thing over which you should necessarily lose a lot of sleep. If you pick the right set for your current needs and skill level, you can let it grow with you.
Here's what I mean:
The first thing you need to evaluate are your needs in the kitchen. If you're making simple meals for which you really only need to chop, mince, and dice your ingredients, you can get away with a smaller set until you expand your skills.
Of course, if you know the areas into which you want to make some culinary forays, like working with whole fish for which you'd need a good fillet knife, for example, you can look at your knife set as an investment in your future needs.
Some of our top kitchen knives also come with a large number of steak knives. If you don't need to feed more than a small handful of people, eight steak knives might be overkill. That is, unless you're like every roommate I've ever had, and you have a strange aversion to washing silverware.
Should brand names matter to you? While it is always important to invest in a quality, trustworthy brand, especially when buying an item that has the potential to be dangerous if it breaks, as long as you buy one that is quality made with forged steel, you should be fine. Just figure out whether you want a set that you can grow into, or one that will grow right along side you as you continue to purchase more knives to fill it out.
Oldowan Tools From Our Ancient Ancestors
Depending on your religious beliefs, Oldowan may have one or another meaning to you. If your belief system clashes with the theory of evolution, the idea that there were human ancestors using crude stone tools 2.6 million years ago won't hold a lot of sway.
If you do jive with evolution, then that's where you'd look to see the first use of knives in human history.
If you're a Jedi, however, Oldowan is probably the name of a planet in a galaxy far, far away.
But we're here to talk about knives, and these simple stone tools were actually manufactured to be sharper than any old rock you'd find lying around Tanzania (where the tools originated).
Early hominids used larger stones to fracture the rocks that they'd use as choppers or scrapers. It took a couple million years for us to get around to using metals instead of rocks, through the Bronze Age and into modernity.
Globally, the Iron Age was marked by the development of extraordinarily sharp implements, including the swords of medieval Europe, Persia, and the far east, and the knives we use even today.
The first knives were much smaller versions of these blades, and were commonly carried by individuals, as much as eating tools as anything else. Nowadays, they're common enough that we can afford to leave them behind in our kitchens, and rarely do we need to kill or skin anything on our commute to the office.